Hoverfly on Agastache Blue Fortune

Connecting people with nature, Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest is renowned countrywide for its elite education curriculum, gargantuan gardens, fancy forests, and super sustainability programs. Whether you want to picnic, hike, walk or bike, there are over 30 miles of trails and woodland roads that traverse thousands of acres of varied natural habitats here. You’ll find splendid views, lakeside, woodland and ridge top trails and vistas that offer adventure for the casual walker as well as the experienced hiker; plus, you’ll cash in on remarkable views to accompany your trek. All of Bernheim is a sanctuary where a great diversity of plants and wildlife can be found; over 250 species of birds alone can be found in and around Bernheim. In terms of sustainability, the visitor center at the Bernheim Arboretum in Clermont, Kentucky, which was completed in 2005, continues to garner attention. In 2007, it was awarded LEED Platinum certification. Most recently, the visitor center has received the EPA’s prestigious Lifecycle Building Challenge Award. The visitor center took an award in the Building–Professional Built category and an Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Greenhouse Gas Reduction. While the LEED Platinum visitor center is primarily constructed of wood, very few trees were cut down for building materials or site clearing. Only eight trees greater than four inches in diameter were removed for site construction. To offset them, 256 cypress trees were planted to make a new cypress-tupelo swamp along a lake. The Visitor Center offers an introduction to the history and some of the natural features of Bernheim. Here you can plan your visit to Bernheim and see what programs are coming up. You can also enjoy a snack or something to drink or buy a plant or something else of interest in the Gift Shop. Explore the displays, then enjoy a leisurely walk along the nearby Cedar Lakes. The “old” Visitor Center is now an Education Center and offers a bird viewing window area with plentiful trees as well as a changing art gallery. Speaking of trees, deciduous trees on the south-facing side provide shade in the summer to lower cooling costs and allow for passive solar heating in the winter when the leaves have fallen. In addition, the building’s columns and beams were created with cypress wood sourced from old pickle vats and bourbon rack house lumber. Some other environmental aspects of the project include:

  • A green roof that reduces runoff, provides additional insulation
  • An 8,000 gallon underwater cistern that provides water for flush toilets
  • A rain garden with plants and trees that hold and purify water
  • A sloped parking lot that carries polluted runoff water to oyster mushroom beds, which transform the pollutants into compounds that don’t harm the environment
  • Bathroom partitions made from high recycled content high density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polished concrete floor eliminates the need for carpet

Also don’t miss the Garden Pavilion – it’s the focal point of the arboretum. It’s also a beautiful place to stop and wander through the perennial and other nearby gardens. Pause at the pool in front of the Garden Pavilion to admire the labeled collection of water lilies and other aquatic plants during the summer season. The building is available for meetings and programs. And don’t miss the three lakes are located within the arboretum. The largest lake, Lake Nevin, is located near the Garden Pavilion. Holly Springs Pond and Cedar Pond are great places to look for birds and waterfowl. Two Ponds Loop is a trail that circles both ponds. As far as education goes, Bernheim is the jewel in the crown of botany and horticultural studies in the State of Kentucky. Students of all ages can attend “naturalist-in-training” courses, wetland workshops, recycling, winter gardening and ecology classes, ECOKids, which provides kids and families with opportunities to play outside, breathe fresh air, and learn about nature, and even CONNECT, which is a “collision” of art, music, science and technology around Lake Nevin at night. There are also a wide variety of courses available for teachers and schoolchildren through the Field Trips curriculum. 1. The Canopy Treewalk

Opened in the spring of 2006, the Canopy Treewalk has become a popular place to spend some time in the treetops overlooking a peaceful valley. It sways, but don’t be afraid! It is located up Forest Hill Drive, go left when you come to the intersection of Paul’s Point Circle.